Max Verstappen asserts that he is not motivated by his Formula 1 rivalry with Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen and Hamilton endured an intense period competing for the 2021 title, with the season filled with close on-track battles and collisions between the pair.
The duo notably came together at the races in Great Britain, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
At the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, the championship battle came to a controversial end when Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap.
The Dutchman benefitted from a late Safety Car restart, with the FIA admitting that “human error” surrounded the procedure that led to the overtake.
Mercedes’ form dipped for the 2022 campaign, while Red Bull and Verstappen went on to dominate the season.
Speaking to CNN, Verstappen asserts that he is not fuelled by the competition with Hamilton and highlighted that he would also like to compete against other manufacturers on a more consistent basis.
“It’s not something that necessarily fuels me,” Verstappen told CNN. “There are more great brands out there as well, like Ferrari and McLaren.
“I hope all these great brands can fight for a title one day together. It’s something F1 wants and needs.”
Opinion: Verstappen notably treats Hamilton different
Verstappen and Hamilton no doubt share a rivalry, the intensity of which has only been matched or bettered on a handful of occasions during F1’s history.
The conflict that they sharedcame to a sudden halt at the end of the 2021 campaign, as Mercedes failed to keep up with Red Bull for the following year.
However, one telling point that the rivalry still exists came at the Brazilian Grand Prix late last season, when Mercedes found a competitive jump. It went on to win the race through George Russell.
At one point, both Verstappen and Hamilton battled for position, and neither yielded. Verstappen later stated that he knew they were both going to collide.
Verstappen’s racing attitude towards Hamilton in that moment did not reflect the conservative nature he adopted throughout much of the campaign – indicating that there is still friction between the pair despite the time off.
‘Red Bull has moved on from end-of-season spat’
Despite enjoying a dominant 2022 campaign, Red Bull’s successful season was interrupted by a budget cap row and an end-of-season fallout between its drivers.
At the aforementioned Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen refused to hand Perez back a position he had been given earlier in the race.
At the time, Perez was battling for second place in the standings as Red Bull targeted its first-ever one-two finish in the Drivers’ table.
Perez admitted his disappointment, while Verstappen asserted that he had his reasons – with rumours swirling that it was payback for Perez allegedly crashing on purpose during qualifying in Monaco.
However, it seems for the time being that the incident has been forgotten, with Verstappen stating that the two are “professional enough to move past those things”.
“It’s been really good, we get on really well,” he said. “We’re going on our third year together now. For the team it’s important that we can work together and bring the team forward.
“We are professional enough to move past those things. We’re racing drivers, sometimes emotions, they go high. But that’s normal. I mean we are full of adrenaline after a race too.”